Monday, February 18, 2013

Cause and Effect

I've always, and I mean always, have loved stories involving time travel. I've never been sure just why that is....maybe it has something to do with always getting a second chance or that certain "cause and effect" that comes about with mucking with the time stream.

Anyway, one of my absolute favorite bits of time travel "cause and effect" has always been from one of my favorite time travel films, Back to the Future.

It goes a little like this:

Doctor Emmett L. Brown calls Marty McFly and tells him to meet him at Twin Pines Mall for an "experiment".

This experiment turns out to be a test run of Brown's time machine, a DeLorean sports car that has been outfitted to traverse the space-time continuum. One of the 'hitches' of said time machine is that it needs plutonium to power the flux capacitor...the thing that makes time travel possible....which you just can't buy in any corner store. To get plutonium, Doc Brown flim-flammed some Libyan terrorists into stealing the plutonium, promising to use the material to make them a bomb.

Instead of giving them a working bomb, the Doc gave them a 'shiny casing filled with pinball parts' which, eventually, the Libyans figured out and decided to hunt down the inventor.

It just so happened, they found Brown at Twin Pines Mall at 1:33 a.m., just as he and Marty were testing the time machine. The ensuing conflict, which was fatal for Doc Brown, forced McFly to hop into the DeLorean, accelerate to 88 miles an hour, and vanish into the past, circa 1955, leaving behind twin fire trails in his wake.

On that bumpy 're-entry' into 1955, McFly crashed into old man Peabody's barn after running over his scarecrow. The commotion roused the Peabodys who, upon seeing the time traveler and mistaking him for a space alien, requested Marty leave the premises via some shotgun shells. On his way off the property, McFly runs over one of a pair of small pine trees....old man Peabody screaming "My pine!" as Marty tears off into the sunrise.

At the end of the film, Marty finds a way home and decides to re-adjust Doc Brown's initial return setting to bring him to the point in time just before the Doc is gunned down by the angry terrorists.

Gee Mr. White...that's awful!
That's why they're called terrorists, Kent.

(Sorry...couldn't resist throwing in that line from Superman II. I do it almost every time I mention the word "terrorist".....anyway....)

Racing back to the mall on foot (the DeLorean had stalled out), Marty now finds himself at Lone Pine Mall.

Apparently, running over that single pine tree in the past, caused a chain of events....different from the original set....the effect being a slight change of the mall's name.

Marty watches himself outrace the Libyans, vanish in a flash of light and twin flame trails, and causes all sorts of time paradoxes too numerous to mention in one blog posting :)

Now, I caught mall name change the very first time I saw Back to the Future and thought, pretty much, everyone else did as well. It wasn't until I had seen it numerous times and with different friends, that I found they didn't even notice it until having seen it more than once.

I'm sure, by now, anyone who's seen the film has noticed this little bit of time travel "easter egg", but it still remains one of my favorites.

Any other bits of "cause and effect" from movies/t.v./books that stand out for you?

Back to the it or hate it?


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Very clever. It's been years since I watched that film and had forgotten the pine trees.

Mark Means said...

I usually catch it about once or twice a year...whether it be on t.v. or dvd.

I've always considered it to be one of the more original films Hollywood has put out over the years.

S.P. Bowers said...

Love Back to the Future. I'm torn on time travel stories. I've seen some done very well, and I've seen some done so haphazardly that they just aggravate.

Mark Means said...

Oh yeah, I've seen some pretty bad ones too. Any story where my improptu ending makes more sense always disappoints me.

Yolanda Renée said...

Loved that movie and never saw the name change once. Guess I need glasses. I love the concept too, and so wish I could go back and 'do things over' -- so many changes, wow!

Great post, but are there any current movies/books that do it justice today? I don't have a clue, some days I feel so out of touch! :)

Julie Baswell said...

I never noticed that before either. Now with you showing it, it's so obvious. I love watching for mistakes, and there are plenty these days. They mainly occur when the camera is switching back and forth between two people. Maybe their hair is/is not behind the ear, or the angle of the head is off or something else. I really don't look for it but automatically see it. It's a gift I guess.

klahanie said...

Hi Mark,

After reading your posting and noting the photos, I'm starting to um 'pine' to see the film again.

Did you know that Michael J. Fox and my humble self have resided in Burnaby, British Columbia. Yes, Michael gets starstruck whenever he sees me. Okay, delusional moment over! :)

I love Back to the Future. Take good care, my friend.


Mark Means said...

@Yolanda: Thanks :) There are some good time travel movies out there. I know I'll probably get some flak for this, but I liked Timecop (with Jean Claude Van Damme), as well. Of course, it's not as good as BttF, in my opinion, but it had some good "devices" for the genre. I know how you feel about being out of touch, too :)

@Julie: Yep, know exactly what you mean. Sometimes those just jump out at you and, other times, you can't see them even if they're right in front of your face :)

@Gary: Haha! I'm sure MJF moved there because you were a resident ;) One of my favorites, for sure. Take care, as well!

Unknown said...

I adore "Back to the Future" series and other time-travel movies like "The Terminator" series and "The Time Traveler's Wife."
Great post! :-)

Heather Musk said...

Excellent post, I LOVE Back to the Future! I lost count a long time ago of how many times I've seen it and I have never ever noticed the Lone Pine Mall change. I'm going to be looking out for it every now!

Cynthia said...

I've watched Back to the Future a number of times back in the day. A recent time travel book I read is called Time Between Us, by Tamara Ireland Stone. It's YA/Romance, and it was a great read!

I do agree with you that time travel stories let us think about second chances.

Hart Johnson said...

I'm sort of luke warm on Back to the Future... I think those movies were timed wrong for me... the first came out in that wonky gap of early high school where I thought I was too mature for such things... I LOVE time stuff, though. Terminator series (except the 3rd), Doctor Who, And you are RIGHT IN SYNC with a dream I just had (probably Doctor Who inspired)--todays blog is on it.

Mark Means said...

@Lexa: Thanks! :) I liked the Terminator series, as well. I couldn't get into the t.v. show, but the movies were good.

@Heather: Thank you and, like I mentioned, I thought everyone had noticed that. There -is- a lot to keep track of in watching those films, though :)

@Cynthia: I've never heard of that book...I'll have to give it a look :)

@Hart: I totally understand where you're coming from and agree that Doctor Who is not just awesome for time travel stories, but awesome all around :D

jaybird said...

Aw, gotta love Back to The Future, it's a classic.

One of my new fav time travel movies, Safety Not Guaranteed. It was fab. Loved it.

Mark Means said...

It sure is :)

I've never even heard of Safety Not Guaranteed....I will definitely have to check it out, though. Thanks for the recommendation.

Sheena-kay Graham said...

Haven't watched the film in years but still a fan.

Mark Means said...

I think it's one of those films you can watch, whenever, and it will always hold up as a great movie :)

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